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What Ideas Apple Should and Shouldn't Steal from the S5

Samsung has launched its new flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S5. Whether or not this is the best Android phone around isn’t as important as the likelihood that this will be the best selling Android phone.

For that reason, if no other, Apple could probably do with peaking at what the opposition is doing and making note of what to include, and what not to include, in the next generation of iPhone and iPad.

What Apple Shouldn’t Steal

Swiping fingerprint scanner

It can’t have been much surprise that after Apple included a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S, Samsung included one in their latest flagship device. However, not all fingerprint scanners are equal.

I’ll admit, I though the idea of a fingerprint scanner smacked of gimmick. However, after I started using it the process became like magic. Certainly, it is much nicer than the alternative methods of unlocking your device. Unfortunately for Samsung Galaxy S5 owners, a large part of the magic is that all I have to do is press a button and then rest my finger on the scanner for it to unlock. I don’t have to do anything else.

A scanner where you have to swipe your finger across it just isn’t the same magic. It’s deliberate action which you have to carry out rather than an action which the device carries out for you.

Bulkware

Samsung is rightly lambasted for the amount of bulkware it bundles on its devices. Often, Samsung adds in its own version of a Google service (which also comes on the device) which isn’t as good as the Google service it seeks to replace.

Samsung’s bulkware doesn’t stop there, it goes much deeper. They also add on a whole host of functions for really unlikely and obscure situations. For example, I have used group play once, I may well never use it again and yet it is impossible to remove. All it does is take up extra space on my device.

I am sure there are other users who face similar issues with a whole host of Samsung apps. When you add in the fact that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 16 GB model only comes with 7.86 GB of free space before you add any other content, it really shows how bloated Samsung’s OS is.

Band-aid Like Appearance

The criticisms of the new S5’s appearance maybe a little harsh but honestly it does look a bit like a band-aid, doesn’t it. This is something Apple should not copy no matter what the reported benefits of the dimples are.

Samsung s5 band-aid plaster

What Apple Should Steal

Health related accessories

Samsung is going after the health market big time. It’s already made a big push with the S4’s S-Health app, inbuilt pedometer and accompanying accessories and with the S5 they have taken a step up further. The addition of a heart rate monitor, built into the back of the device, adds another set of health related data. You might think that the health niche isn’t that important but the number of health focused apps shows this is a popular area with potential for growth.

A lot of the rumours surrounding the potential iWatch hint at Apple looking in this direction and I am sure many would welcome an increase in Apple based health items.

Waterproof

Remember all those poor people who dropped their iPhones in water just because they thought that Apple had made it waterproof after seeing some fake posters [see below]. Well Apple should make their devices waterproof. I’m sure most people wouldn’t want to use their device underwater, but for the simple reason of not having to worry about dropping it in a puddle or leaving it outside, this would be a real benefit.

Some of the best features are ones you never think about.

fake iOS 7 waterproof ad

Realtime HDR

While I do feel that Samsung often suffer from a case of “bigger is better” when it comes to cameras (usually around pixels) the new S5 has an incredible fast shutter that can do “realtime HDR”. Whether it is really taking two photos at exactly the same time or just as though they are the same time is pretty irrelevant. The point is that it feels like they are at the same time and that is what matters.

HDR is becoming an increasingly common and important weapon in a photographers arsenal. Making the process more seamless and quicker is a good step forward.

Maybe?

Not every issue is so clear set, Samsung has introduced some new features that while they could improve the experience of users with their iOS devices. However, they may add unnecessary bulk or be unnoticeable.

Full HD

Samsung has had “full HD” screens on a range of its devices for a while and the S5 is no exception. It’s not radically higher than previous iterations but it is higher. Apple has laid it’s case for the Retina line, but is it really valid? The argument goes at the distance the average person “uses” the device you can not distinguish the pixels…so that is enough.

But maybe it’s not, what if you use it close to your face? That would make the pixels visible. Or is there even some subconscious recognition of greater detail with “full HD”? Even if that is the case, more pixels require more power and more processing power. Increasing the pixel density to “full HD” may come with disadvantages and not really benefit the device.

USB

I’m sure there are reasons for Apple using its own type of connector. Maybe it charges devices faster and is safer but honestly it’s a pain in the neck. USB is so ubiquitous that you can find one in almost any place you go to. You almost don’t have to worry about taking a cable with you. Changing to a USB system would help prevent finding yourself traveling, short on power and with no cable around.

What (if any) inspiration do you think Apple should take from the S5?

About Chris Wilson

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